Significance: Joseph Stalin led the USSR in WWII, as the communist power rose from strife. He also industrialized the USSR, allowing the USSR to resist Germany and eventually become a military superpower. He excercised total control over the USSR during his premiership.
Effect: Stalin led the USSR in WWII, Industrialization of the USSR
Significance: General Douglas MacArthur was one of the five only men who rose to the rank of General of the Army.He fought in three major wars. WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. He was later discharged from the army for insubordination and refusing to obey orders.
Effect: MacArthur led many campaigns in the three major wars of the time.
Significance: The Stock Market crash in the U.S. happened as too many investors and people relied on debts they could no longer pay, leading into the Great Depression in the U.S. which then spiraled Europe and the rest of the world into a depression
Cause: Debts, Inflation, buying more than you can pay for, overproduction
Significance: The Salt March fostered pride amongst the Indian nationalists. It also showed their willingness to defy the British.
Cause: British monopoly and tyrannical control of economic freedom and Indian culture
Effect: Angers Britain, Gandhi's notariety increases, feelings of economic nationalism on the rise
Chiang Kai Shek leads China in the Great Central Plain wars
Significance: Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Guonmindang after the death of Sun Yat-sen. He led the national government of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1975. He commanded the Northern Expedition to unify China against the warlords and emerged victorious. The battle was also known as the Great Central Plains War
Cause: The warlords were disturbing the peace of central China and needed to be quieted in order to Chiang to have supreme power.
Effect: Chiang became the overall ruler of China and its armed forces.
Significance: Italy got revenge from its earlier defeat. Also, it showed Italy's aggression and willingness to defy the League of Nations. The League voted sanctions against Italy, but it could not enforce them and Italy had conquered Ethiopia by 1936.
Cause: Italy wanted more power and it wanted revenge for its earlier defeat.
Effect: Drove the Allies & Axis towards war and increase Italian power.
Significance: This was a struggle between democracy and fascism within a country, which drew support in the form of volunteers from many countries.
Cause: The unrest within Spain between the two political parties.
Effect: Francisco Franco, with the aid of Hitler and Mussolini, was put into power.
Italy allies itself with Germany.
Significance: Italy formed strong ties with Germany to agree to divide up the world amongst themselves without interference. Germany would conquer lands to the north, while Italy conquers colonies in Africa, to the south.
Cause: Rise of Germany military machine, shared Fascist beliefs
Effect: Italy moves to conquer Africa.
German Gestapo placed above Law
Significance: Shows Germany's determinedness to gain "living space" and defy the Treaty of Versailles.
Cause: Nazi need to eliminate opponents and control race and politcal status in nation
Effect: Hitler's forces later give him the power to conduct all the work he needs to do in secret; Holocaust forces ready
German troops reoccupy the French Rhineland
Significance: Shows Germany's determinedness to gain "living space" and defy the Treaty of Versailles.
Cause: Expansion promised by Hitler, anger toward Treaty of Versailles
Effect: Great economic resources flow to Germany military machine, France is threatened
Significance: Movement of troops initiates war involvement of Britain.
Cause: Invasion of Poland
Effect: Britain is now involved in the war
Einstein warns Roosevelt about atomic bomb possibilites
Significance: This prompted the rush to build an atom bomb, which basically ended World War II.
Cause: German research slowed to a halt. Could be a way to win the war
Effect: The United States built atom bombs and ended the war.
Hitler takes Czechoslovakia
Significance: Germany had taken control of an eastern democracy, which scared the western democracies. This helped move the western democracies away from appeasement and towards war.
Cause: Need for living space. Radicalism of the Nazis
Effect: Tensions heightened. Countries feared Hitler and started the War.
August 31- Hitler Invades Poland
Significance: German Forces advance into Poland, blitzkrieg style, after non-aggression pact with USSR, while USSR's forces invade from the East. The Polish resistance holds out for several days, expecting support from France or Britain, who have promised assistance, but it never arrives, and Poland is overrun with relative ease. Invasion encourages Allies, Britain, France, and others into War. This is the catalyst for the war
Cause: Nazi advances to occupy more of Europe
Effect: Allies drawn into WWII
August 23- Nazi-Soviet Pact(aka. Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact)
Significance: This was a big surprise to people, who knew that Germany and the USSR were enemies. The non-aggression pact was signed because both countries didn't yet want to face each other. They also secretly agreed to divide up Eastern Europe.
Cause: The mutual need of Germany and Russia to have no interference when taking over nations like Poland
Effect: TEMPORARILY, united Russia and Germany allowing the two very powerful nations to do as they pleased with their small neighbors.
Joseph Stalin may have written a speech expressing desire to enter the war.
Significance: After his non-aggression pact with Hitler, Stalin may have written a speech suggesting that entering the war would be beneficial for communism because Nazi Germany and the western democracies would be weakened for communism. Whether he gave the speech or not is unknown, but it shows that western democracies may have had just cause to fear the USSR after WWII. It is also alleged that he was planning to break the pact and invade Germany in the summer of 1941, but Hitler struck first.
Cause: Communists wanted their ideology to gain power and support so that they were no longer challenged by the capitalist democracies.
Effect: Increased Cold War tensions when the allegations were exposed.
Significance: Major power in Europe is overrun by the German Military Machine, after its forces overwhelm the heavily defended Maginot Line (a concrete fortification intended to prevent German Invasion)
Cause: Old rivalry, German expansion seeks to crush allies
Effect: Allies dealt heavy blow, with Mainland European nations knocked out of the fight. War moves closer to England.
Winston Churchill tells the House of Commons, "...we shall fight on the beaches...we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...."
Significance: A strong statement by Churchill which personified the determination to prevail against Germany in the Battle of Britain.
Cause: Nations surrender to Germany military
Effect: Determination of British people--total war takes a fighting position on the civilian front
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns and is replaced by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, who forms a coalition government from all three main parties
Significance: Change of power sparks aggression against Hitler; Churchill is more actively against Nazi advance and expansion.
Cause: British people were beginning to fear the Nazis.
Effect: Churchill, Britain more willing to join the war.
September 27- Italy, Germany, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.
Significance: This pact officially united nations now known as the Axis.
Cause: All 3 nations shared ambitious goals of gaining territory and resources, albeit in different places. So they formed the treaty to unify against the Allies who were impeding their expansions
Effect: Axis vs. Allies battle is officially created. Later causes Hitler to support Italy, Germany to declare war on US post-Pearl Harbor
November 10-The Italian Fleet is crippled at Taranto.
Significance: The daring raid by the British severly harmed the Italian fleet. The great success for the British also helped inspire the Japanese bombing plan for Pearl Harbor that aimed to severly cripple the American Navy.
Cause: To limit Italian control over the seas the British attacked Taranto to cripple the Italian fleet
Effect: This battle inspired Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor and helped Britain keep control over the seas.
Battle of Britain "The Blitz"
Significance: Germany was in control of most of Europe, Britain was the last country left. German Bombers dropped hundreds of bombs over london and other British military and coastal towns. Attacks were intended to cripple the nation by destroying most of London, and demoralizing the people. While heavy damage was done to British towns, cities, and installations, the British stood strong under the leadership of Winston Churchill. British air power was no match for the German Luftwaffe, but with the help of RADAR, the Royal Air Force(RAF) was alerted to many attacks and was able to kill many German pilots. Germany also implemented the Flying Bomb and V1 rocket, unguided rockets that were fired from German soil.
Cause: France was pushed in to Britain, to avoid German forces; Britain was the only unoccupied country
Effect: The bombing was not effective, it made the British more determined to fight back.
Fall of France
Significance: This was a big event because France was a powerful Western democracy that had fallen to Germany. France was one of the last allies of Europe.
Cause: Germany's drive to control Europe and avenge themselves for WW1
Effect: A major setback for the Allies as Germany accomplished something they failed to do the entire of WW1
Evacuation at Dunkirk
Significance: ~360,000 Allied troops are pushed to the French side of the English Channel by Axis forces. The British utilized every British ship afloat to evacuate the soldiers.
Cause: The Axis rush for power in Europe dumbfounded the Allies
Effect: Miraculous evacuation, kept soldiers fighting for another day
Italy joins WWII on June 10
Significance: Strengthened Germany's forces and created another enemy for the Allies. Declaration of war on France.
Cause: Italy had allied with Germany.
Effect: Axis had more power.
Desert War in North Africa begins.
Significance: The offensive was headed by Italians in the beginning, but later other powers were drawn in to the conflict.
Cause: Italy wanted African lands, especially Ethiopia.
Effect: More powers were drawn into a huge battle.
May 7- U-Boat U-110 captured by the Royal Navy, with Enigma code machine and code books.
Significance: Allowed British codebreakers to crack the previously unbreakable German naval codes.
Cause: Convoys constantly attacked by uboats, extremely effective--need to fight back
Effect: Convoys were able to track Uboat movements and fight back to destroy the Uboats with Depth Charges
June 22- Operation Barbossa Begins
Significance: The Germans launch a surprise attack on Russia, Operation Barbossa, breaking the non-aggression pact between the two nations.
Cause: Hitler wanted control over Russia's vast resources. Hitler also greatly hated Communism
Effect: This caused Russia to suddenly turn to the Allies side. Though Russia suffered incredibly from the German attacks, in the long run this would prove to be a fatal mistake for Hitler.
Invention of Sonar/Radar
Significance: This was an important technological advancement in the war because it enabled planes and ships to be detected at a long distance
Cause: The need for better technology to monitor enemy forces
Effect: Added another level to war as previously undectable troop movements could now be seen
December 7-Attack on Pearl Harbor
Significance: Served as a catalyst for America to enter the war. America had to rebuild ships/buildings before the harbor could be used. Japan was very happy at its success, however, the Americans were enraged at being attacked on such a huge scale without warning.
Cause: Japan allied with Germany; Japan believed P.H. was key to defeating the Americans
Effect: America loses many ships, and has to rebuild. Move away from isolationism.
December 8-Japanese invade the Philippines
Significance: Shortly after attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan attacks US's possessions in the Pacific
Cause: Japanese declaration of War
Effect: Japanese capture major US settlement, begin campaign
Battle of Wake Island (Same day as PH)
Significance: Central Island in the Pacific. Good military base for the Jap. because they could reach US and good for the US because they could reach Jap.
Cause: Growing tensions and competition between Jap and US
Effect: US sunk first Jap. ship in the War and Jap. executed American civilians
Nazi Genocide of the Jews (The Holocaust) and others begins in full force
Significance: This was a brutal genocide of "inferior" Jewish people. Definition: genocide is the deliberate attempt to wipe out a certain race / culture / ethnic group. Definition: holocaust means destruction by fire or nuclear war.
Cause: Hitler's incredible anti-semitic attitude
Effect: The brutal killing of millions of Jewish people in Germany and other nations in Europe.
Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act.
Significance: This allowed the United States to provide nations at war with weapons and supplies while still technically remaining neutral.
Cause: The USA wanted to be able to help the Allies.
Effect: Allied nations especially the USSR, benefited from this greatly.
Significance: Major Naval Battle involves most of the carrier and other naval resources of both sides. Turning point for Allies in the Pacific as Allied Naval power overwhelms Axis after suffering many defeats since start of war
Cause: Naval Buildup
Effect: Japanese navy crippled
February 19- United States Executive Order 9066 signed by FDR
Significance: This order exercised FDR's war powers to send people of various nationalities(with who he was at war) to be sent to internment camps. Especially targeted at the Japanese
Cause: War powers granted by Congress
Effect: Over 110,000 Japanese Americans sent to interment camps
Sept. WASPS est.
Significance: Program that had 1074 graduates that were trained to be bombers and fighters. Due to favorable military conditions, the program was canceled
Cause: Women's rights
Effect: Increased female involvement in combat roles
Battle of Midway
Significance: Decisive defeat for the Japanese and morale boost for the Americans
Cause: Japanese expansionists want key strategic island
Effect: Destruction of many powerful ships in the Jap. fleet
September-Battle of Stalingrad
Significance: The Battle of Stalingrad was a decisive battle for the Russians. It diverted German troops from taking Moscow, and the civilians of the city endured the hardships of the seige greatly. This slowed down the German progress quite a bit, allowing Russia to mount a counteroffensive in the city 2 months later
Cause: The German's wanted to strengthen their hold in Russia; the Russians wanted to divert German troops from Moscow.
Effect: Stalling the Germans bought precious time for the Russian Army to regroup and launch a counter offensive against Germany to stop the German invasion
Guadalcanal Campaign-August 7 to February 7 1943
Significance: Initiates the Island Hopping campaign strategy. This was the major offensive battle plan for the Allies in the Pacific, to get to Japan.
Cause: The need for strategic positions on land to attack Japan directly
Effect: A very slow and brutal move through the island chains inching towards Japan.
Battles of El Alamein
Significance: Famous battles in Africa. The Allies lost badly the first time, but won a decisive victory the second time.
Cause: Allies & Axis both wanted control over Africa
Effect: Allied morale increased after the 2nd battle.
Significance: Massive allied amphibious assault in occupied northern France opens new front and pushes to free Europe. The naval armada might have been the biggest in history. The sea was read with the blood of the soldiers, who were rushing to their deaths.
Cause: Need for a quick and speedy end to the war
Effect: Beginning of American and Allied involvement/pushing back of axis forces
December 16 - Battle of the Bulge
Significance: Many casualties on both sides, but Germany's last major victory of the war holds the Allied advance back from advancing into Belgium after freeing France. Surprise attack greatly lowers allied morale. The cold winter slowed and weakened both sides. The German plan was to split the British and American components of the allied advance. German Forces pushed Allied forces back almost 30 miles. The Allies eventually stopped the German advance, and the German offensive had held the Allies, it fell short of its goal of crippling the allied force.
Cause: German battle plan to split the Allied offensive and encircle its allies
Effect: Allies suffer casualties, but soon break through and move into Germany
Significance: Major victory. Some soldiers at a dark moment raised the US flag, boosting morale.
Cause: Island Hopping campaign
Effect: Further advances in Pacific.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies
Significance: Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The nation was upset because he had helped bring them out of the Great Depression and had led them through the war. People hadn't known that his health was deteriorating.
Cause: Cerebral hemorrhages are usually caused by hypertension or the build up of fat deposits, and ocurr when a blood vessel ruptures. When this ocurrs in the brain as it did in Roosevelt's case, it often cuts off the blood supply to the brain, causing the brain to die. This is often fatal.
Effect: Vice-president Harry Truman became the president.
May 7 - V. E. Day
Significance: End of the war in Europe brings peace and is the triumph of the Allies against Germany and the Axis powers in the west
Cause: New front established by d-day assault drives to Berlin.
Effect: End of the European theater. Enabled the Allies to concentrate their effort on defeating Japan.
Significance: The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, was the wartime meeting from February 4, 1945 to February 11, 1945 between the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union — Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, respectively. Roosevelt was lobbying for Soviet support in the Pacific War concerning the invasion of the Empire of Japan; Churchill was pressing for free elections and democratic institutions in Eastern Europe (specifically Poland), while Stalin was attempting to establish a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe which the Soviets thought was essential to their national security. Additionally, all three of them were trying to establish an agenda as to how to govern post-war Germany.
Cause: The newly won war in Europe left many things unanswered, such as the punishment/ healing of Germany, the division of Axis powers and the ownership of Poland
Effect: Look in Significance
July 26- Potsdam Declaration
Significance: Defines terms for Japanese Surrender.
Cause: Japan was looking to capitulate, but the west had demands
Effect: Call for Japan to: demilitarization. Imperial power end. Western occupation. War crimes trials. Unconditional Surrender
US captures Okinawa
Significance: Largest amphibious assault of the war, huge defeat of the Japanese navy and land based forces. American forces now directly threaten Japanese motherland.
Cause: Island hopping campaign
Effect: Japanese morale broken, Prospect of Japanese homeland invasion; atomic bomb strikes, Many casualties
April 28- Mussolini assasinated
Significance: Benito Mussolini is captured and killed by Italian partisans. Signals the fall of Fascism across the globe
Cause: Mussolini's brutal dictatorship created many enemies against the man
Effect: WWII, Mussolini's brutal fascism.
Links: Mussolini (right) hanging by his feet after he is killed: 
"Little Boy" atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th and "Fat Man" dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th.
Significance: This was the first time anybody had ever used an atomic bomb as a weapon. It ignited a huge controversy about whether or not the bomb should have been used and was what made the Japanese surrender. Some also call this last shot of World War II the first shot of the Cold War. Atomic bombs kill thousands instantly, demolish the two cities, and make them uninhabitable due to radiation. Radiation sickens tens of thousands more
Cause: US wanted to end war quickly, without Stalin's help, and intimidate Russia
Effect: Japan surrendered. Controversy over atom bomb. Cold War, arms race.
Significance: The Japanese surrender marked the end of World War 2 as the final Axis power surrendered after the dropping of 2 atomic bombs
Cause: The atomic bombs
Effect: The Allies won.
End of World War II
Significance: The end of the bloodiest conflict in human history.
Cause: The surrender of Japan
Effect: End of aggression. Huge disappointment for Germany. Left the US and USSR as major powers.
War Crime Trials
Significance: This was a triumphant moment for the Allies because they were happy to seen Axis leaders on trial for crimes against humanity, but it was a sorrowful moment for the Axis powers. 142 out of 117 tried were found guilty.
Cause: Allies were angry at what the Axis had done
Effect: Allies felt better, Axis were ashamed.
Over 50 Countries meet to draft the Charter of the United nations
Significance: This fostered hope for a new era of international cooperation, but was similar to the Treaty of Versailles in that the winners of the war, Britain, France, China, Russia, and the U.S. became the members of the Security Council
Cause: People wanted an international organization to settle disputes.
Effect: The UN worked to solve disputes and other worldwide problems.
Significance: General in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during the time when Japan was the Empire of the Rising Sun; he served as prime minister during much of World War II and helped bring about Pearl Harbor and was largely responsible for the Greater East Asia War. Which he took full responsibility for and was put to death by hanging on December 12.
Effect: The execution of one of the men who masterminded the whole East Asia War comforted people around the world.
Significance: This ended Stalin's rule of the USSR.
Cause: Strokes are generally caused by increased pressure on weak blood vessels, causing them to rupture. It is speculated that someone may have assassinated him by giving him warfarin, a rat poison, which can cause strokes.
Effect: People were free to criticize Stalin. His era of rule was over. The USSR lost some of its austerity. But oddly enough, a recent poll in Russia showed that 35% of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were alive.
Significance: Prior to World War II, he was primarily known as an armoured warfare tactician and an advocate of the concentrated use of armoured and aviation forces. During World War II, he reached the rank of Brigade General and then became the leader of the Free French government-in-exile and an anti-Nazi guerrilla leader. Between 1944 and 1946, following the liberation of France from German occupation, he was head of the French provisional government. Called to form a government in 1958, he inspired a new constitution and was the Fifth Republic's first president, serving from 1958 to 1969.
Cause: Aneurysmal rupture
Effect: His death shocked the world. But his political influence, which is known as Gaulism, lives on to guide French politics today
Significance: British Army officer who successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein, a major turning point in World War II, and troops under his command were largely responsible for the expulsion of Axis forces from North Africa. He was a prominent commander in Italy and North-West Europe, where he was in command of all Allied ground forces during the Battle of Normandy.
Cause: Natural Causes / Old Age
Effect: With the passing of Bernard, the British lost a hero. His military influence was great and he led some amazing campaigns.